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Carter Insists on Treaty Deadline

December 13, 1978
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

President Carter continued today to insist that Dec. 17 is the “deadline” for Egypt and Israel to conclude a peace treaty and that he expects Egypt and Israel to complete the treaty by that time. At a news conference, Carter said “President Sadat (of Egypt) has reconfirmed his intention to Secretary of State Cyrus Vance to conclude the negotiations without further delay.” The President then added, “my hope and my expectation is that Israel will have the same attitude.” Carter said Vance reported to him of having made “good progress” in his conversations yesterday with Sadat in Cairo.

“I consider the deadline date to be quite important,” the President said in response to a question from a reporter. “If the Egyptians and the Israelis cannot keep a commitment on a conclusion of a peace treaty, when they themselves are the only two nations involved — I am serving as a mediator in the process — then I think it would be very difficult for them to expect the terms of the treaty they are negotiating to be carried out with assurance. It sets a very bad precedent for Egypt and Israel not to reach a conclusion” by Dec. 17.

However, Carter did not accept the reporter’s view that it is “now or never” on an Egyptian-Israeli treaty. The President said he did not think Dec. 17 is “a now or never deadline” which he said Egypt and Israel had set “in a most solemn commitment” at Camp David.

Later, Carter, in a reply to another question on the possibility of another Camp David summit, said he had “no present plans to do that.” He added, however, “if all else failed, and I felt that we could get together again, I would not hesitate to do that,” but, he said, “I don’t envision that taking place.”


The President was asked about U.S. trade restrictions with Communist countries and the reporter referred specifically to the Jackson-Vanik Amendment which ties U.S. government credits to the Soviet Union with its emigration practices.

In his reply, Carter did not refer either to the Jackson-Vanik legislation or to Export-Import Bank restrictions. He said “we have to put trade in a proper perspective. We cannot assess trade itself completely separated from our overall relationship with Communist countries, particularly those which are potential adversaries of ours, like the Soviet Union.”

The President said he hoped to have increased trade with both the Soviet Union and China and noted that the United States has increased trade with both countries over the last several years. Carter did not mention emigration or other forms of human rights in his discussion.

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